Below the Fold: TV worth watching? Born this Way
Over the weekend, the 2016 Emmy awards aired, showcasing what the New York Times called “TV’s cultural dominance.” Americans watch on average around five hours a day of television, which equates to a lot of influence. When we consider the content of some of the most popular shows on right now, that thought is a bit frightening. But there is one show, which looks worth watching. It’s A&E’s docu-reality Born This Way.
Born This Way follows seven young adults who live with Down Syndrome. Notably, it is the first TV show starring individuals with disabilities to win an Emmy. According to Disability Scoop:
The show focuses on the everyday experiences of its stars, all of whom have Down syndrome, following them through the ups and downs of dating, employment and the quest for independence.
For many people, this show— even the show’s very description listed here— shatters preconceived notions of what life with Down syndrome may look like. The young adults in Born this Way are celebrated, not pitied. They have interests and dreams and emotions and failures and successes— all the things we recognize as beautifully human.
As people who value the human dignity of each life, we need to be aware there is an alternate narrative, which says some lives just aren’t worth living or protecting.
While accurate data is difficult to track, many pregnant woman given a Down syndrome diagnosis choose abortion. Prenatal testing claims to detect Down Syndrome at as early as 10 weeks. Upon a diagnosis, doctors often give parents a completely clinical and dire outlook on the life of their child, outlining worst case scenarios and medical complications. Born this Way shows another side to the story— not unduly rosy, but personal and real.
People with Down Syndrome (or other disabilities) are people, not problems. Every life has inherent value no matter their abilities. That’s because we do not ultimately get to assign value, God the Creator does. If we were to start looking at people as God sees them— His image bearers and precious in His sight— how would our view of people with disabilities change? We would be much more open to see the unique contributions of each person. We would start placing more value on the attributes God values and less on the ones our world celebrates. We would get to see His image reflected in new and beautiful ways on earth.
In the midst of all the other TV shows out there representing all sorts of ideologies and perspectives, we have the chance to watch and support one advocating for life. That is worth celebrating.
To learn the facts about Down Syndrome, visit the National Down Syndrome Society.
If you are interested in this topic and learning more about the Christian worldview perspective, I encourage you to listen to our interview with Amy Louise Becker mother to Penny, a young girl with Downs syndrome.